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Joseph Shubow Collection

 Collection
Identifier: P-881

Scope and Content Note

The Joseph Shubow Collection documents the life and professional activities of Joseph Shubow, military Chaplain, leader of the Boston Congregation B’nai Moshe, and a prominent American Zionist leader. The collection includes correspondence, documents, lists, writings, speeches, sermons and notes, photographs, and printed materials.

Materials constituting the collection reflect various aspects of Joseph Shubow’s personal and professional life, religious leadership, and writings in the fields of Judaism and Jewish history.

The collection includes both personal and professional materials related to Joseph Shubow and some members of Shubow’s family. Personal materials constitute the smallest part and materials include extensive correspondence with friends and relatives, daybooks, diplomas, personal documents, and photographs.

Of special interest is Joseph Shubow’s correspondence with his wife, Beatrice Shubow, generated during World War II. During the war, Joseph Shubow served in the United States Army as a chaplain and was stationed with combat troops in Europe. The abovementioned correspondence sheds light on Shubow’s work as a chaplain, and on his personal experience in Europe.

Other Holocaust-related materials include correspondence with military authorities and humanitarian organizations, correspondence with survivors, photographs, printed materials, and military reports and other documents.

In addition to containing documents related to Joseph Shubow’s activities as a military chaplain, the collection covers other aspects of Joseph Shubow’s professional life, such as being a prominent leader in the American Zionist movement as well as being a leader of the Congregation B’nai Moshe in Boston.

There are also materials documenting Joseph Shubow’s involvement with a number of professional organizations and educational institutions, most notably The Zionist Organization of America, and Harvard University.

The bulk of the materials pertaining to his professional activities consists of correspondence with individuals, organizations, and governmental institutions, both American and foreign.

There is also correspondence documenting Joseph Shubow’s involvement with Boston Congregation B’nai Moshe and Zionist Organization of America that consists of correspondence with individuals, including donors, correspondence pertaining to various administrative and financial matters, correspondence regarding Congresses and other meetings, correspondence with other religious, secular, Zionist, and governmental organizations and institutions in the United States and Israel, correspondence with community organizations and Boston city officials, charitable organization and civil liberties and labor movement organizations.

Additionally, there is a small amount of correspondence with scholars, scholarly and other publications; correspondence regarding Joseph Shubow’s speaking arrangements, inter-faith relations, and conferences.

Joseph Shubow’s legacy as an orator is well-documented by the abundance of his sermons, speeches, notes and other writings.

There are also other writings by Joseph Shubow, such as articles, reviews, and numerous drafts of his monumental work, The Moral and Spiritual Antecedents of Zionism and the State of Israel, with Special Attention to Peretz Smolenskin and the Problem of Nationalism.

Joseph Shubow wrote on a wide range of topics, but most of them relate to Judaism or some other aspect of Jewish life. Works collected here cover topics such as Zionism, Judaism, historical writings, apocryphal writings, history of American Jews, community relations, and various historical and political personalities.

Other materials in the collection include printed materials, minutes, lists, memos, materials pertaining to the conferences and meeting attended by Joseph Shubow, organizations that Shubow worked with, as well as anniversaries and other celebratory events that he attended.

There in a wealth of materials dealing with Joseph Shubow’s life-long involvement with the American Zionist movement. These materials deal with regional Zionist organizations, Israel, and Joseph Shubow’s run for the Presidency of the Zionist Organization of America.

During the McCarthy era, Joseph Shubow was investigated by the FBI and Military authorities. He was accused of being disloyal to the United States, and of having pro-Soviet sentiments based on the anonymous letters and the fact that he praised the Soviet Army for defeating the Nazis.

Materials dealing with the McCarthy era include correspondence with organizations and individuals (including letters of support as well as many letters full of dismay and hatred, crank mail and anti-Semitic letters), official documents, printed materials, and Joseph Shubow's writings.

Dates

  • 1900-1979
  • Majority of material found within 1934 - 1969

Creator

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers, except items that may be restricted due to their fragility, or privacy.

Use Restrictions

No permission is required to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection, as long as the usage is scholarly, educational, and non-commercial. For inquiries about other usage, please contact the Director of Collections and Engagement at mmeyers@ajhs.org.

For reference questions, please email: inquiries@cjh.org

Biographical Note

Joseph Shalom Shubow, Chaplain, leader of the Boston Congregation B’nai Moshe, prominent community and American Zionist leader, was born on September 26, 1899, in Olita, Lithuania.

He started his education at the Boston Latin School where his scholarly talents were discovered at the very early age. He received his B.A. and M.A. from Harvard University in 1920 and 1921. While at Harvard, Joseph Shubow became interested in the Zionist movement and co-founded AVUKAH, a Zionist Student Organization.

After graduating from Harvard, Joseph Shubow served as a literary editor for the Jewish Advocate. At the same time, he became involved in Jewish communal work in the New England region. Between 1924 and 1930 Joseph Shubow served as correspondent and feature writer for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

In 1930, Joseph Shubow followed in the foot steps of his brother, Leo, and enrolled in the Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. At the same time, he developed a strong relationship with Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, a prominent leader of the American Zionist Movement. After his graduation, he became the Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress of New England.

In 1934, Joseph Shubow began his life-long affiliation with the Temple B’nai Moshe, a small Jewish congregation, which over the years grew into one of the largest and influential congregations in the New England region. Rabbi Shubow was an eloquent speaker, and his speeches and sermons at the Temple B’nai Moshe and throughout the region would gather many listeners. He was one of the first to see the dangers of the rising National Socialism in Germany not only regarding the Jewish people but for humanity as a whole. He spoke against the German regime across the country and even openly confronted a Nazi diplomat at a Testimonial Dinner at Harvard in 1934.

In 1943 Joseph Shubow enlisted in the Chaplains Corps and attended the Harvard Chaplains School. He requested to be sent overseas and joined the 9th Army in 1944. He served under General Lucius Clay and was awarded a Bronze Medal for his service. In March 1945 he conducted a Passover Seder for the G.I.’s at Goebbels castle. After the War ended in May 1945, Joseph Shubow was sent to Berlin to work with the Jewish survivors. He returned to the United States in 1946 with the very first boat of Jewish refugees. For many years after his return, Rabbi Shubow continued to assist Jewish survivors in their rehabilitation, continued education, the reunification of their families, and other matters.

Upon his return, Joseph Shubow continued his work at the Temple B’nai Moshe. He also continued his communal work, with hospital and veteran visits demanding more and more of his time.

He remained very active in the American Zionist movement and in 1956 became a President of the Zionist Organization of America’s New England Region. During that period Joseph Shubow attended numerous Zionist meetings in the United States and abroad. From 1961 until his death in 1969 he served as a vice-president of the Zionist Organization of America.

In 1959, the Temple celebrated Rabbi Shubow’s 25th Anniversary as its Rabbi. To mark this occasion, Joseph Shubow’s friend, Cardinal Cushing delivered an address praising Rabbi Shubow’s communal work. It was the very first time when a Catholic priest publically praised a Jewish Rabbi.

Later that year Joseph Shubow was awarded a Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University after successfully defending his theses The Moral and Spiritual Antecedents of Zionism and the State of Israel, with Special Attention to Peretz Smolenskin and the Problem of Nationalism.

Joseph Shubow continued to be active within the Zionist movement, his community work, and the Temple B’nai Moshe until his premature death in 1969.

Extent

60.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

German

English

Yiddish

Hebrew

Armenian

Abstract

The Joseph Shubow Collection documents the life and professional activities of Joseph Shubow, military Chaplain, leader of the Congregation B’nai Moshe, Boston, MA and a prominent American Zionist leader. The collection includes correspondence, documents, lists, writings, speeches and sermons notes, photographs, and printed materials. Materials constituting the collection reflect various aspects of Joseph Shubow’s personal and professional life, religious leadership and writings in the fields of Judaism and Jewish history.

Acquisition Information

Materials were donated by Mrs. Joseph Shubow in 1970 and 1971 and Joseph Shubow's daughter, Judith Shubow Stier in 1993 and 1994.

Related Material

AJHS Boston, MA

The collection was acquired with a large number of museum objects that have not been cataloged or inventoried at this time.

AJHS Boston, MA

Leo Shubow Papers

Separated Material

A memorial plaque has been removed to the AJHS Art Collection.
Title
Guide to the Joseph Shubow Papers, 1900-1979 P-881
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by Yakov Illich Sklar
Date
© 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Sponsor
Processed as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation

Revision Statements

  • September 2017: A note on museum objects was added by Andrey Filimonov in the Related Material field.
  • October 2020: RJohnstone: post-ASpace migration cleanup.

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

Contact:
15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States